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  • Writer's picturePress Release

The Twelve Dates of Christmas - a holiday Comedy

12 Dates of Christmas, Virginia Stage Company, Core Theatre Ensemble

Words and Images Courtesy of the Virginia Stage Company and the Core Theatre Ensemble

Norfolk, VA - Virginia Stage Company (VSC) and Core Theatre Ensemble (CTE) present Ginna Hoben’s The Twelve Dates of Christmas, a hilarious contemporary comedy about the modern dating scene during the holiday season. This season special will run in tandem with Virginia Stage Company’s favorite holiday tradition of A Merry Little Christmas Carol from December 8 -18, 7 performances only!

After catching her fiancé kissing another woman at the televised Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, Mary's life falls apart -- just in time for the holidays. Over the next year, she stumbles back into the dating world, where "romance" ranges from weird and creepy to absurd and comical. It seems nothing can help Mary's growing cynicism, until the charm and innocence of a five-year-old boy unexpectedly brings a new outlook on life and love. This heartwarming yet hilarious one-woman play is sure to leave audiences in stitches. Take a break from the family holiday traditions and make your spirits bright with this holiday date night!

Core Theatre Ensemble founding member and Virginia Stage Company’s own Emel Ertugrul stars as Mary, the recently single young woman forced to navigate the complex and, often, disastrous dating scene. Fellow Core Theatre Ensemble member Laura Agudelo, who is also currently starring in VSC’s Every Brilliant Thing tour, will direct.

This production contains mature language and is for anyone who can relate to the awful, yet hilarious, outcomes from dating in the modern world. Tickets are only $35 each and can be purchased online here: or over the phone at (757) 627 - 1234.

Interviews can be arranged by contacting Director of Marketing, Maris Smith, at

Meet the Cast & Creative:

Laura Agudelo, though not a stranger to the VSC stage, is extremely honored to be making her directorial debut with The Twelve Dates of Christmas. Laura portrayed Mrs. Phelps in the VSC production of Roald Dahl's Matilda the Musical and is currently a performer in Every Brilliant Thing The Tour. In the past 15 years Laura has worked with Core Theatre Ensemble and has performed in Frankenstein, Antigone, Macbeth, and Niobe, and was the co-director for Macbeth, Antigone, You Vs, and The Poe Project. Other performance credits include Doubt, Little Women, and Loves Labours Lost at Tidewater Community College. Laura has also performed at La Mama ETC, Sanford Meisner Theatre, Repertorio Español in New York City and at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ. Laura is currently the Theatre Arts and Spanish teacher for Chesapeake Public Schools, and last summer she was a teaching artist for VSC’s Summer Theatre Camps. She directs three shows per year with her high school students, and is proud to share that her students are the reigning VHSL 6A State Champions. Laura also proudly shares that she was named Chesapeake High School Teacher of the Year in 2018.

Emel Ertugrul (Mary) is excited to bring this fun and relatable holiday comedy to the Wells Stage. She is the Producing Artistic Director for CTE where she splits her time between writing, directing, and performing. Previous acting credits include, Lysistrata, The Yellow Wallpaper, 40 Whacks: A Nightmare, Frankenstein, Macbeth, Antigone, Niobe, No Exit, The Poe Project, The Scarlet Letter, and The Glass Menagerie. As producer for CTE she has overseen every production from casting to presenting, as well as the organization of all performance and teaching tours. Emel also currently serves as the Operations Manager and Casting Director for Virginia Stage Company.

Core Theatre Ensemble is an international touring independent theater company that has been creating since 2006. Totaling over 70 productions in 5 countries, CTE is headed by Emel Ertugrul and Edwin Castillo with artistic associates Laura Agudelo and Nancy Dickerson. They work with a philosophy and focus on the performer as the individual and within the ensemble. Their works gravitate towards the group event and the creation process highlights working towards the common goal of performance and presentation. Theatrical collaborations and coproductions include Centro di Creazione Teatrale-Italy, A. Pulka Physical Theater-Lithuania, University of Vilnius-Lithuania, Old Dominion University, Warehouse of Theater, Virginia Stage Company, Chrysler Museum Glass Studio, Limbic System, and Alchemy NFK. CTE’s mission is to create innovative, compelling work that is challenging to the actors involved and engaging to the audiences who watch. To make great theater and have great people see it... everywhere.

Virginia Stage Company is Southeastern Virginia’s leading theatre destination, serving an audience of over 58,000 annually, both at the Wells Theatre and throughout the community. Virginia Stage Company’s mission is to “enrich, educate, and entertain the region by creating and producing theatrical art of the highest quality.”

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